It was a cold February evening – they’re all cold February evenings at The Farm to be honest – and we had sat down to read Arthur Miller’s classic ‘The Crucible’. Doing play readings was something our team loved; what better way to while away the cold evenings than huddled around a makeshift fire pit immersing yourself in imaginary worlds created in a different time and place. Fizza informed me that David had suggested we read this play.
So far I only knew of David as the guy who’s come all the way from New York to select actors for our project ‘On Common Ground’. Being a new Theatre Wallay member, I did not share the experiences that some of our other members had of working with David. Everyone was all praise for David, and I confess I’d Googled him and checked out some of his performances online and thought, damn, that’s good.
But that was nothing in comparison to the moment David entered with his e-cigarette and timeworn leather bag, sat down with us and picked up a script. The next lines were to be spoken by a new character, Reverend Hale and David agreed to read with us.
For those unfamiliar with Reverend Hale, I can only say he’s a character of such sound convictions and such evil actions that it’s a test for any actor. David read the lines with such clearly visible intentions, such poise and with as much seriousness as if we were actually on stage putting on this play. I was hooked, I believe I even forgot to read my next line because David had completely changed the mood of the reading. Everyone instinctively tried to read with more intention and clarity, to slow down and not rush lines in a casual fashion. And that’s what I think David brought to all the workshops and then the staging: he did things with such conviction and honesty that it made each and every one of us strive to become better.
– Haseeb Chishti